High Level Meeting on Food Security for All
26-27 January 2009, Madrid
Statement of Nobuhide Minorikawa,
Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Let me join in expressing appreciation to President Zapatero and the Government of Spain for hosting this timely event. I also wish to commend Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for his leadership throughout the process.

As mentioned by a number of previous speakers, food security remains the top of global agenda. We must redouble our efforts in addressing this issue in a more coherent manner than ever.

At the Hokkaido Toyako Summit last July, the G8 leaders committed to working with the international community in forming the GPAFS, Global Partnership for Agriculture and Food Security. Building on our leaders' commitment and noting calls for such a partnership reiterated at various international fora, the G8 Experts Group, under the Japanese Presidency, presented a proposal which, we trust, has served as a point of reference for moving the process forward.

What is needed, as to the GPAFS, at this juncture is a clear vision on the roadmap towards its realization. We need to commence a broader consultation process at once and, to that end, a contact group composed of key stakeholders must be formed. In this regard, Japan agrees with the Spanish proposal to start the consultation process immediately after this Madrid Conference. We urge all the interested parties to join and actively contribute to the process to form a genuinely inclusive Partnership.

The GPAFS has to have added values. Just to mention a few of what Japan expects from this Partnership:

  • first, to effectively increase agricultural production and investment worldwide, with a sense of urgency;
  • second, to mobilize and harness international expertise, knowledge and wisdom, while maintaining the political momentum on food and nutrition security;
  • and thirdly, to promote coordination among stakeholders, especially at country-level, and bring about steady progress on the lives of hundreds of millions of people suffering from hunger and malnutrition.

Japan is driving forward with international partners a number of initiatives, spearheaded by the CARD, Coalition for African Rice Development. The CARD is a practical outgrowth of the ideals of the GPAFS, aiming for doubling rice production in Africa.

Japan values and supports the work of the High Level Task Force, best of all, the leadership of Dr David Nabarro as the Coordinator. The Secretariat requires strengthening in order to provide the services expected.

Finally, for Japan's part, we have committed over 1.5 billion US dollars for food and agriculture related assistance last year alone, and already carried out the majority of the pledged short-term aid. On top of this, we are planning to implement another 360 million US dollars to address food crisis in Africa and Afghanistan through our supplementary budget of the Fiscal Year 2008. I am happy to announce here today that this budget proposal was approved an hour ago at the Japanese Diet for immediate disbursement.

As the world's top provider of agricultural assistance and the largest net food importer, Japan is aware of its responsibilities and role. We call on each and all partners to join in the new global platform with a view to realizing a food secure world.

Thank you for your attention.

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